Contact lens manufacturer Essilor has confirmed it is pulling out of Limerick - with the loss of up to 15 jobs.
The French company has been based in the Raheen industrial estate for almost 40 years.
It was used for manufacturing contact lenses in the past, but recently, it has been operating as the firm’s main customer service centre.
Nationally, the company employs almost 700 people at various sites in the Republic of Ireland including in Ennis, Tuam Blessington and Athlone.
Brian Deegan of Essilor Ireland, confirmed the closure of the Limerick site.
“Due to the economic climate, we are doing a bit of a ‘tidy up’. Part of the Limerick facility will be migrated into the Blessington facility. Some of the people who currently operate out of the Limerick facility will base themselves in the Athlone facility. Unfortunately there will be a few job losses. We are in the process of identifying these,” he confirmed.
He said that at present Essilor employs 330 people in Ennis, 220 people in Tuam, and 115 people in Blessington, with between 12 and 15 people in the Limerick centre facing redundancy.
However, he said this move will ensure there is a better service for Essilor’s many customers nationwide, including several Limerick opticians.
“We have quite a strong customer base among the Irish opticians. We are talking to them all this week through direct calls, through mail. We believe the changes we are making will in fact improve the product offering and the service we can offer them. We don’t want our customers to get the wrong message here,” he told the Limerick Leader.
Essilor was founded in Paris in 1972, following a merger between Essel and Silor.
It entered the Irish market in 1973 when a glass manufacturing facility was established in Limerick.
In 1991, Essilor opened its second plant in Ennis, known as Organic Lens Manufacturing.